Nick first discovered (and subsequently fell in love with) artist Georgia O’Keeffe during his third grade year. His class was studying her, her painting techniques, what inspired her, and her background. And then one day he came home and realized, hey, we have some Georgia O’Keeffe hanging in our house. Her Poppy, 1927 piece is still one of my favorites.
So, of course, when I saw that there was a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit coming to a local museum, I immediately wrote it on my calendar. I didn’t tell Nick about it, choosing to surprise him instead. When we pulled up to the entrance of the Montclair Art Museum and he saw the O’Keeffe banner, he was pretty stoked.
And this is when I first realized that I had been spelling her name wrong all these years.
On the first Thursday of the month, the museum offers a free “family night” from 5-8 pm (it is also free during the daytime on the first Friday of the month as well). There are drinks, sandwiches, a small live classical band playing, and you can wander through the different exhibits at your own pace, or choose to join one of their guided tours. Although we snuck a listen to the tail end of one of the guided tours, we did most of the exhibits by ourselves.
And given the random things, ahem, one of my children pipes up with sometimes, that was definitely the best choice.
Unfortunately I paid no attention to the artists’ names of the other exhibits we saw first, so apologies for that. But they represented various mediums, everything from tile mosaics and decorated skulls to colorful peacock-like displays. The kids loved all of them, but the weird decorated skulls definitely drew the most amount of questions. They took their time at each exhibit, really studying each piece, and I love that art is something they both continue to be interested in and inspired by.
And then, finally, the section with the O’Keeffe pieces. Concentrating primarily on her New Mexico-influenced art, it featured pieces that Nick wasn’t as familiar with, and they are such a departure from her work that is more in keeping with Poppy, 1927 that he was surprised that they were from the same artist. There was a little alcove where you could sit down and listen to a short movie on O’Keeffe, her work, and her influences. The only drawback there is that there are only two sets of headphones and you can imagine on the once-a-month free family night, it gets a little busy.
If you’re a Georgia O’Keeffe fan like we are, her exhibit will be there until the end of January, before it goes on to Denver. And if you happen to live within a reasonable driving distance to the museum, be sure to sign up for their e-news list to get the details on new exhibits as they come up.
Montclair Art Museum
3 South Mountain Avenue
Montclair, New Jersey 07042-1747
Free First Thursdays Nights: The Museum offers extended hours from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. the first Thursday of the month. Check the Free First Thursday Nights schedule for special programming.
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, and major holidays.
*Unfortunately while you are allowed to take pictures in the museum, it is prohibited for certain exhibits, and in this case, it included the O’Keeffe pieces. You’ll just have to go visit!